Lobos BUAP continued their inspired home performances after defeating Pumas, who had a horrid game, by a score of 2-1. Taking advantage of Pumas’ mistakes on defense, Lobos was able to win, even though they were down a man for half the game. Meanwhile, Pumas gave by far the worst performance under new coach Bruno Marioni, and maybe the worst performance in all of 2019. Besides going down 2-0, they missed numerous chances to tie and looked terribly disorganized in their attacks. Lobos will remain at home and face the hottest team in Mexico, Leon, while Pumas will go back to Mexico City to face a Morelia team that should debut their new coach Javier Torrente that day.
While Pumas was expected to be the better team on Sunday, Lobos BUAP had been doing a lot better at home where they had only lost once. Pumas appeared to not get the memo and like their Copa MX match against Zacatepec, their lackadaisical effort let to many mistakes. Lobos appeared to have scored through Michael Chirinos but it was disallowed because of a handball. A couple of minutes later, like in the match against Leon, goalkeeper Alfredo Saldivar lost a ball under pressured and was forced to make a stop outside the area, handling the ball, getting a yellow and a free kick. Pumas continued their defensive woes and this time they wouldn’t be saved. Luis Quintana made a mess of a long ball allowing Peruvian Beto da Silva tons of space to go through and score the opening goal.
Pumas tried get the equalizer but their efforts weren’t good enough, although they did get a lifeline in the final play. Juan Manuel Iturbe was able to get through the Lobos defense and defender Leiton Jimenez had to bring him down. As he was the last man, he got a red card to close the first half. This meant Lobos would be down a man starting the second period.
With the advantage of having one more player, Pumas went all out looking for the draw. To do so they subbed out Kevin Escamilla for David Cabrera, a move that would hurt Pumas in the long run.
With an inspired Alan Mozo, Pumas went all out to take advantage of having one player but the attacks weren’t organized and constantly failed. To make matters worse, Pablo Jaquez gave the ball away and produced a counter that Mauro Lainez failed to convert. Then a truly baffling play by Cabrera gave Lobos BUAP what eventually would be the winning goal. With the ball under their control, Carlos Gonzalez told David Cabrera to make a pass to Mozo’s left side. Instead Cabrera went to the opposite way, where no Pumas player was close and four Lobo BUAP players were, much to Gonzalez’s dismay. In the ensuing counter from the giveaway, the ball reached Lainez, who sent a shot past Saldivar for the 2-0.
After the goal, Pumas had complete control of the possession but continued to attack in complete desperation thus they were not successful for the most part. Still, Pumas had a man advantage and they had some close ones. Alan Mozo had a shot deflected by Francisco “Maza” Rodriguez and a header by Gonzalez just went inches wide. In what was probably the best opportunity, a Gonzalez header left Iturbe alone in the box but he slipped when he tried to take his shot and the ball got cleared. A Gonzalez shot fell straight into the keeper. Finally in extra time, Gonzalez was able to get a free header to score the goal but there wasn’t enough time for another opportunity and the game was over.
The win is a big plus for Lobos BUAP season. With Veracruz’s loss, they are a win away from avoiding relegation. They also got a big boost from defeating a team like Pumas (considered one of Mexico’s historic big teams) at home and with a man advantage. For their coach Francisco Palencia, it’s a great result against his only other team he’s coached. Pumas loss meanwhile is a huge hit for their season. While the loss at home against Leon was understandable since Leon is probably the team playing the best in Mexico, Lobos BUAP is not only considered a minor team but they failed to get the result even when they got 45 minutes with a man advantage. Pumas will now have to improve quickly for their key home game against Morelia, which can define their Liguilla hopes. Lobos BUAP meanwhile will stay at home but face their toughest test there when they face Leon.